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Tasmanian patients sent interstate for surgery able to be performed in Tasmania

Mrs Armitage (Launceston) to ask the Honourable the Leader of the Government -

(1) Since 30 June 2014 how many public hospital patients, by region, were sent to the mainland for surgery that could have been performed in Tasmania?

(2) What were those procedures by region?

Answer from the Leader of Government, Dr Vanessa Goodwin:

Under current arrangements, Tasmania utilises interstate expertise primarily for the management of patients with high complexity conditions, where low volumes cannot support the safe or efficient delivery of services locally. The White Paper on Safe and Sustainable Clinical Services Exposure Draft proposes that these arrangements continue.

Data are not available for 2014-15, as the interstate treating hospital does not provide treatment records to the Tasmanian health service for up to 12 months after the surgery is performed.

Separate to these long-standing arrangements, Tasmania has secured significant additional investment through the Tasmanian Health Assistance Package - THAP - of $26 million over two years, to provide up to an additional 2 000 elective surgery procedures.

A tender has been released to establish a panel of public and private surgery providers, including those interstate, to treat Tasmania's longest waiting patients.

The public-private panel arrangements will significantly increase the volume of elective surgery activity in 201516. Funding will be provided to support the travel and accommodation costs of patients who choose to have their surgeries interstate.

The federal funds available to elective surgery under THAP are only available for a short time. If our public hospitals were to take on additional staff to use all these funds, they would simply be plunged straight back into a 'boom and bust' cycle - having to shed the new staff in less than two years when the funding expires.

Using the private and interstate sectors allows us to use this one-off funding to treat those patients whom have already waited years for surgery, without creating unsustainable budget pressures that the state cannot fund in the longer term.

(Answer supplied June 25, 2015)

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